Floodplain Technical Assistance Project – BiOp compliance for Puget Sound floodplains

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A 2008 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Biological Opinion changed floodplain management for every community within the Puget Sound area.The findings concluded that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) would likely jeopardize Endangered Species Act-listed Puget Sound salmon and adversely modify habitat critical to their survival. This presented quite a challenge to NFIP communities. After more than a year of evaluation and coordination with NMFS and Puget Sound floodplain managers, Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region X responded to NMFS findings by issuing a regional model ordinance and guidelines on how these communities could adhere to NMFS requirements. Puget Sound communities were given until September 22, 2011 to document their approach for compliance in order to maintain NFIP eligibility.

The Floodplain Technical Assistance Project, a partnership between ESA and Kramer Consulting Inc., was developed in coordination with federal agencies, Washington State and local governments to help Puget Sound communities comply with the new requirements. The Project developed a framework for assessing existing floodplain functions and conditions. These assessments then served as a basis for establishing tailored management strategies and compliance with NMFS findings. The team identified key circumstances and variations occurring across the Puget Sound floodplain landscape, and presented a framework to manage variable floodplain conditions.

With new Endangered Species Act-mandated changes to floodplain management now in effect for the Puget Sound, and on the horizon for the Columbia and Willamette Basins and the Bay Area, ESA contributed to developing a framework that provides a roadmap for communities where existing and anticipated uses in the floodplain must be balanced with fish and wildlife habitat protection.

Specialized Services

  • Community and ecosystem adaptation plans
  • Community outreach programs
  • General plans, comprehensive plans, and community plans
  • Habitat restoration and enhancement
  • Modeling and analysis
  • Park and land management plans
  • Project website; social media management and communication materials development
  • Shoreline and coastal plans
  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Watershed assessments

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